Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, issued a statement saying he was “disappointed” in the Supreme Court’s decision this week in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, and vowing to reject the ruling by restoring “the Obama-Biden policy that existed before the Hobby Lobby ruling” in 2014.
On Wednesday the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that employers with moral or religious objections are exempt from the federal mandate that requires company health insurance to cover birth control and abortifacients. The Little Sister’s of the Poor are a Catholic order of nuns who care for impoverish elderly by running homes with an employed staff, to whom they provide health insurance.
The Supreme Court’s decision upholds the Trump administration’s rule, exempting moral and religious objectors from Obamacare’s birth-control and abortifacient mandate.
Biden’s response to the ruling for religious liberty was that “there is a clear path to fixing it,” meaning the Little Sisters of the Poor could find themselves back in another legal battle should he win the presidency.
“If I am elected, I will restore the Obama-Biden policy that existed before the Hobby Lobby ruling: providing an exemption for houses of worship and an accommodation for nonprofit organizations with religious missions,” Biden’s statement reads. “The accommodation will allow women at these organizations to access contraceptive coverage, not through their employer-provided plan, but instead through their insurance company or a third-party administrator.”
During the Obama Administration, more than 500 scholars and religious leaders signed an open letter that argued the “so-called ‘accommodation’, changes nothing of moral substance and fails to remove the assault on religious liberty and the rights of conscience which gave rise to the controversy. It is certainly no compromise.”
Under the Obama-Biden administration, religious organizations were required to sign a two-page form stating their objection to the insurance mandate. The “accommodation” under Obamacare would direct women whose insurance does not provide contraceptives to a third-party administrator, instead of their employer-provided plan. Then, the administration arranged for a third-party provider to make sure the employee’s contraceptive is covered.
The Obama-Biden “accommodation” policy is what the Little Sisters of the Poor were fighting against in the first place. They argued it still forced them to violate their religious beliefs. The Little Sisters, among other organizations, claimed that signing the agreement was the moral equivalent of condoning birth control and abortifacients.
Ryan Anderson, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, drove home the importance of a Trump reelection for organizations who have moral objections to the Obama-Biden mandate and “accommodation”. He warned that if Biden, or another future Democrat is elected President, the Little Sisters of the Poor will likely find themselves “back in court.”